Savvy businesses know their success lies in being where their customers are. The rise of social media and digital healthcare activity has been phenomenal. The role of social networks in the field of healthcare has become critical for a patient’s lifelong health journey. Not long ago, word-of-mouth and referrals were considered a primary channel of marketing for physicians.
Over the last few years, the most startling metamorphosis has been the digital evolution of the industry. PwC’s recently published report on healthcare states, “At $2.9 trillion, the state of the U.S. healthcare industry is strong – and growing. Health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. About 10 million newly insured Americans are bringing in significant new revenue, but that’s only part of the story. The health sector is proving to be highly adaptive to disruption and innovation.”
The rising volume of digital healthcare activity among online healthcare consumers is well-recognized by physicians now. Online physician interactions with patients form a foundation of trust and credibility in the minds of many others who read the conversations. The role of social networks in the field of healthcare has become critical for a patient’s lifelong health journey. As long as physicians use social media in an ethical and professional manner, they can benefit both patients and colleagues, enhance their own reputations and help to lead the revolution in this area.
From marketing to social business
Digitalization has brought the world closer and has created a global online village as a rapidly growing number of people are on social media. This fantastic web space enables an instantaneous self-expression about an individual’s thoughts/views/expressions and a shared community experience – at any given second – with someone in the house next door or halfway across the globe. A few years ago, terms such as following, liking, commenting, tagging, reviewing and sharing were known by just a few. In the era of social media, these now provide vital leads that could result in higher-quality care, a more loyal base of patients, better efficiency and even revenue growth.
What this means for the health industry
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Marketing in any form can be effective only if you are effective in your marketing skills. When it comes to healthcare marketing, there are an increasing number of info-hungry consumers who have become the digital decision-makers. Physicians, dentists and healthcare providers can either choose to evolve with the changing digital scenarios and drive value for their practices, or they will shrink backward and dilute their reputation.
Healthcare marketing strategies that aggressively include social media can help healthcare providers take a more active, engaged role in managing patient health. Healthcare organizations should effectively analyse and integrate information from the social media space and utilize it to connect with the healthcare consumers in more meaningful ways that provide value and increase trust.
By tapping the correct social media channels, hospitals and physicians can directly connect with people who are increasingly turning to these for finding answers to their wants, needs and preferences. Insights from social media also offer instant feedback on products or services, along with new ideas for innovation. Incorporating this information into operations can help healthcare organizations position themselves better to meet the needs of today’s consumers. While making any interaction on social media, be cognizant about the HIPAA guidelines and keep patient privacy and confidentiality as the top priorities.
Social media networking has expanded the social life of health, which now goes far beyond a doctor’s office. It can be used as an ideal platform to share your practice visibility, connect directly with target patients and influence their opinion about your practice. Entrepreneurial physicians have understood the possibilities of social media marketing and have leveraged it to their benefit. It’s about making a brand of your practice through social media marketing.